Name: Michael Roberts
Firm: Hogan Lovells
In Hot 100 for: Star litigator on landmark cases in 2017 and 2018. Read his full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
Being sent at the last minute to get a document signed by a client who was skiing in Verbier. The partner seemed to think this was some sort of a glamorous mission. In reality, it was just very cold as I was waiting outside an après-ski bar, still in my suit and tie, for the client to finish his fondue.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
In the early part of my career, I worked very closely with the partner who had originally recruited me to the firm when I was a vacation student. It was the same partner who ultimately called me, one weekend, to tell me that I had been elected a partner.
I was very fortunate to have his support as a mentor throughout that time. However, I also had – and continue to have – the opportunity to work with a number of outstanding litigators at Hogan Lovells.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
Sticking with it. There are inevitably times when the job can feel stressful, frustrating or slow-going. There were one or two occasions, in particular, when I wondered about changing direction as an associate. I’m so glad I persevered as I would have missed out on so many extraordinary opportunities, such as the Sergei Pugachev litigation.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
For litigation associates at big firms working on big cases, there’s a real danger that you never learn to run anything yourself. You have to have the confidence to put your own ideas forward and to grab any opportunity to take on responsibility. Sometimes that will involve taking risks and making the odd mistake, but you become a far more rounded lawyer as a result.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?